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26 Mar, 2020 11:09

'Pass the message': Lionel Messi leads galaxy of stars calling on fans to unite to defeat coronavirus

FIFA and the World Health Organization have teamed up to spread the world and "Pass the message" as a host of the world's top football stars have joined forces to share best practices to cope with the spread of the coronavirus.

The two organizations have teamed up to launch a new awareness campaign featuring some of the biggest names in the football world as they call on fans across the globe to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The collective has released public information videos in English, French, Spanish, German, and Arabic in a bid to spread the word far and wide, with a host of world-renowned footballing names teaming up to ask fans to follow five key steps to stop the spread of the disease.

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United States women's soccer star Carli Lloyd and former England ace Michael Owen teamed up for the English-speaking message, while Youri Djorkaeff, Laura Georges and Samuel Eto'o joined forces for the French version.

Two Spanish-language messages were produced, one for Spain and one for South America, with Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Iker Casillas sending a message to their home country, while Lionel Messi, Radamel Falcao, Juan Sebastian Veron and Jared Borgetti teamed up to send a message to the Spanish-speaking South American nations.

Germany stars Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Celia Sasic repeated the trick for their homeland, while Saudi Arabia legend Sami Al Jaber and former Egyptian international striker Mido did the same in Arabic.

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The "Pass the message to kick out coronavirus" campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on washing hands, coughing into your elbow, avoiding touching your face, keeping your distance and staying at home and isolated if feeling unwell.

"FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino have been actively involved in passing the message against this pandemic since the very beginning," said WHO director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the virtual launch of the campaign at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

"Be it through campaigns or funding, FIFA has stood up to the coronavirus, and I am delighted that world football is supporting WHO to kick out the coronavirus. I have no doubt with this type of support that together we will win."

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino shared a similar message, saying, "We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus.

"FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further. Some of the greatest players to have played the beautiful game have put their names to the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19."

In addition to the awareness campaign, FIFA has also pledged $10 million to the WHO's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.